As I sat across from him, my heart began to pound. “Did he just say that he likes me? But … I don’t feel the same! What do I do?”
If you’ve ever been in this situation, you know that it’s never as straightforward as just saying “No!” When a guy confesses his feelings, it can be a dream come true – if we like him back. But when we don’t, it often leads to the extremely difficult and awkward task of having to reject him kindly and clearly.
At the right time, a confession is a pivotal moment that could ideally propel two individuals toward a God-ordained marriage. However, I have also witnessed and personally experienced how such moments can end in broken friendships and ugly memories. What is the best way for a girl to react? We’ll get to that, but first, from my experience there are three main ways that girls respond:
The Nice Rejection
Because we don’t want to hurt the guy by rejecting him directly, we give replies like “Um … I’m not sure … Maybe in the future …” Instead of giving a straightforward answer, we prolong his agony by being vague and ambiguous. This becomes a not-so-nice wait for the guy as he is left wondering, “So does she like me or not?!”
The Chop-chop Rejection
An uninterested girl may choose to put a swift and decisive end to a guy’s hopes. Once the words are out of his mouth (or perhaps even before!), we shut him down as quickly as we can to make it clear that we are not interested AT ALL. We walk away relieved that the message got across, but the guy walks away nursing a bruised ego, or worse, a broken heart.
A REJECTION CAN END IN BROKEN FRIENDSHIPS AND UGLY MEMORIES
The Not-A-Rejection Rejection
It is natural to feel flattered when we receive attention from the opposite sex. While we like the attention, we don’t want him to get the wrong idea. As such, we swing between being hot and cold, enjoying the attention but subtly hinting that he doesn’t have a chance. The poor guy gets these mixed signals and can never quite figure us out!
I suppose there is no hard and fast rule on how we should respond to an interested party, but as you can see from the scenarios above, the way we respond when a guy first bares his heart can have a huge impact on the way he feels about himself and your relationship with each other. So, how should we do it? Here are some tips:
Guys often express interest way before they confess directly to a girl. By the time he lets his intentions known, at least a small part of him probably thinks he stands a chance to win the girl over. While some of their perceptions could be skewed, girls sometimes convey unintended messages through their friendliness, openness in personal sharing, and by spending exclusive one-on-one time with him. However, if you have no intention of ever saying yes, please be kind and don’t lead him on. It can be very uncomfortable to have to reject someone, especially if he is a friend, but please know that you are doing him a greater favour by ending his wait. If you are truly uncertain, decide if you need a specific duration to think or pray about it (not a year please) before giving him a response.
A guy is extremely vulnerable when confessing his feelings. In our hurry to say ‘no’, we can end up being too blunt and hurting him. A curt response may send the message that he is being brushed aside or disregarded as not good enough for you. Tactfulness is required to send a clear message while still being gentle in your response.
IN OUR HURRY TO SAY "NO", WE CAN END UP BEING TOO BLUNT AND HURTING HIM
DON’T BE AFRAID
We can become nervous and even afraid when we don’t know how to reject a guy, or when the guy is pushy. Some guys could even behave in a manner that borders on harassment! You may not like the man, but see him with the loving eyes of God. Don’t get me wrong; loving him does not mean that you have to entertain his feelings or show affection. However, it does mean an internal shift in how you perceive him. When we understand that he is also in the process of learning how to convey his feelings in a godly manner, it eradicates fear of his ‘next move’ or the fear of losing a friendship. Rather, it helps us to extend grace and be as helpful as possible in conveying our own feelings in a gracious manner.
If you’re ever caught in the uncomfortable position of having to reject a guy when he confesses his feelings, remember these tips and pray that you can both walk away with your friendship and his heart intact.